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The Highly Acclaimed Vol. 1 Issue 1 July / August 2011 J. James Joiner edito@thehighlyacclaimed.com Managing Editor / That Guy Bennett Barthelemy bb@thehighlyacclaimed.com Adventure Editor / Ringer Patricia Pronovost copy@thehighlyacclaimed.com Copy Editor / Guru Contributing Writers: Brett Holman, Jeffrey Joiner Sr. Cindy Joiner, Brian Krans, James Cruikshank Contributing Photographers Brett Holman, James Cruikshank, Maureen Eversgerd

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The Highly Acclaimed is published bimonthly in the USA at an FSC certified printer. We cherish our environment and encourage you to, as well. Submissions are encouraged and may be sent to copy@thehighlyacclaimed.com. Advertising is also encouraged and information is available by emailing ads@thehighlyacclaimed.com. The Highly Acclaimed is a subsidiary of Privateer Press Publishing

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As a freelancer and freebooter, Bennett Barthelemy has ranged far and wide for the last decade, engaging in a plethora of human-powered exploration modes, to document new and wild places. He is known to consort with the colorful denizens and roustabouts of said areas. More of his writing and photo work can be viewed at www.bennettbarthelemy. com, tandemstock.com and auroraphotoas.com

This is some of us, nice to meet you. A reluctant journalist and photographer, James Joiner found his way by accident into his current profession and wouldn’t have it any other way. He can often be found smuggling bottles of wine into various remote fly fishing areas, obsessing over the unnecessary and trying to make up for lost time. His photos can be seen at www.4jphotography.com

Well hello there. Why the heck did we start a magazine? That’s a good question. I have no idea. I guess it’s one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time (read: at the bar) and, well, we just went with it. I, for one, have always been the “leap first, hope like heck” type, and in getting to know our staff and contributors over the past couple of months, something tells me it’s a common plight. But really, why? I could lay something heavy on you about how life and the fates pushed us all together, right place at the right time, et cetera, but that’s predictable, isn’t it? Maybe we’re just tired ofwondering if people read our blogs. Maybe it’s the self-indulgent need to tell everyone what we think and show off our pretty pictures. I really believe it’s more, though. I believe it’s because we have something to say and something to give. It’s because so many of you out there share our passions, share our intense love for the lives we lead… If anything, I would call this more a correspondence than a magazine. We want to hear from you, hear your stories and add them to our own. Kind of like sitting around a campfire with people met on the trail, swapping tales and reveling in the camaraderie of kindred spirits. I don’t want to believe that we’re all so connected to our internal iLives that we can’t bond over shared experiences, even if those experiences happen thousands of miles away and we never even meet each other. This first issue is the fruit of a lot of people’s labor. The Highly Acclaimed has changed, twisting and turning, taking on a life of its own these past few months. It’s funny, looking back on things, how simple it all could have been had we known exactly what we wanted at the start. But what’s important is that we have finally arrived, here at the start of something we truly feel will be great. Every other month, we will do our best to bring you stories of adventure, travel, the outdoors, of people actually living life. We’ll add in some music and art, food and drink, we’ll talk about the things we use and the people we meet along the way. It’s here that we need your help. We don’t want this magazine to become just a reflection of us living our lives. We want to hear from you, we want to add your stories and thoughts and ideas to our own, so that when people pick up their new magazine they find a full spectrum of experiences, experiences that hopefully inspire them to go out and have their own adventures. You can reach any of our staff at the email addresses in the masthead, or via the general address at connect@thehighlyacclaimed.com. Don’t be a stranger. On the cover: Day hiking in Utah’s Devils Garden, Arches National J. James Joiner editor@thehighlyacclaimed.com

Park. Seconds after the image was taken a Patagonia-esque gust of wind nearly toppled the exposed photographer and carried Maureen Eversgerd’s sunglasses 50 feet away from the fin we were scrambling. Photo Bennett Barthelemy courtesy Tandem Stock.


by Jeffrey J. Joiner Sr.

Fly Rods: Tradition or Technology? Long-time fisher has a heart for bamboo and a hand for graphite

The modern fly fisher is lucky to be surrounded by an amazing array of technology. Carbon fiber rods that weigh next to nothing are capable of helping even beginning casters throw huge amounts of line and fight enormous fish without complaint or failure. CNC-machined reels with super-smooth and powerful disc drag systems, that also hold hundreds of yards of backing while requiring virtually no maintenance, even in salt water, balance perfectly in the hand. We wade into the stream or sea in lightweight, breathable waders that wear like Kevlar -- and may actually be Kevlar. Every bit of equipment has been expertly engineered, sourced and marketed, so that anyone, anywhere, can attain the latest and greatest with a click on their iPhone

or laptop, and expect to see it in a day or so through the mail or big brown truck. I am guilty of clicking on a lot of this stuff myself. But I recently had an experience that made me stop and re-evaluate my choices. For better or worse, I (like everyone else) am a product of my own experiences. When I began fishing, fiberglass was quickly replacing bamboo as the rod material of choice. Not that fiberglass was better exactly, but it was certainly lighter and far less expensive. It made owning a few more rods accessible, particularly in the heavier line weights needed for salmon and salt water fishing. I learned how to cast and fish on fiberglass and bamboo rods. Shortly after that, within a dozen years or so, there was already talk about exotic new materials like graphite and boron, but nobody I knew had ever actually seen or cast one of these yet. The differences between the traditional and modern materials are many, and echo the rhythms of the lifestyles of those slower-paced days past and the near-frantic pace now. A fly rod built from fine Tonkin bamboo is a work of art, and the best of those were (and still are) amazing tools for casting a line, delivering a fly and fighting a fish. They are each one different to some degree; they have an organic feel and demand that you use them in the way they were designed to be used. They require care. They cannot be used hard and put away wet. They require you to adjust to their inherent tempo; on the whole, slower and more careful

timing works best. But once you adjust yourself, you will succumb to their charms. Like most well made tools, they are capable of much more than most users are able to bring to them. But all of this was realized in retrospect for me. Life was that way when I was growing up, you began by accepting the proven methods of those that came before, then slowly developed your own opinions based on experience. There was no internet to search for immediate feedback on anything. To me and many others, the fiberglass rods seemed colder, less personable, but adequate. They were a bit garish in their looks and they felt kind of clunky in the hand. It was like the difference between a carpenter who learned his craft with a wooden handled hammer or chisel; when you are used to the solid, warm sculpted feel of wood in your hand it’s hard to get used to the feel of plastic, though it works well enough. And it was an indicator of things to come. Space age materials were popping up everywhere. When the graphites finally arrived, they were pretty amazing in their way. They were extremely light (though we couldn’t know then that they would soon be much lighter still), very easy to cast (at least initially), and though many folks embraced them right from the start, they were quite a bit more expensive than fiberglass, though not as much as bamboo. I found them both intriguing and frustrating. I considered myself a pretty accomplished caster; never did I feel I couldn’t cast far enough or accurately


overnight I realized I had become one of them, and that the new crowd has very limited interest in all those lessons. But I have embraced some of even their perceptions; I just like to think I take the time to enjoy and understand the whole thing more. If you wandered around my basement you would find nearly a dozen rod tubes, old and not so old, leaning here and there. And in the back of my car there are always at least two fly rods set up and ready for any opportunity that should present itself. Leaning in corners around the house J. James Joiner photo

enough. I rarely had trouble turning over leaders or presenting flies. But my timing with the new graphite rods was often troubled. I, of course, blamed the rods. As the years went on, there were more and more of the new rods. It seemed everybody was using them. In fact it seemed like there were many more people fishing in general, and though many of the old-timers still cherished their cane rods, even they were using the new rods most of the time. Glass rods not-so-slowly began to disappear altogether. The die was cast. (It’s interesting to note that now, forty years later, fiberglass is enjoying quite a comeback among a segment of the younger crowd who seem to embrace all things “vintage.”) Up until fifteen years or so ago, most of the best graphite rods were very expensive. The offerings of the big famous companies still are. But then carbon fiber was appearing everywhere. The overseas companies got the technology and began producing container-ships full of inexpensive but well designed gear, which showed up even in the best of the old traditional company’s catalogs. With the advent of the internet and the generations that have grown up on the computer, it is natural that these kids would choose the modern approach. At least they start there. So now I find myself viewed with suspicion by the younger generations of fly fishers, both on the water, and in the tackle shop. For years I tried to live up to the example of the old timers who brought me along in this sport. Almost

The author and world reknown split cane rod builder Marc Aroner discussing some of a rod’s finer points.

are even older, interesting bamboo rods that I just can’t bring myself to get rid of, including one that was retrieved from the dumpster behind a local hotel that had just been remodeled. This late 19th-century specimen came complete with a wooden reel. I remember seeing it hanging on a wall in the lobby of that place years before. And well-hidden are my real treasures, a modest

but pretty nice collection of cane rods representing the history of the American rod making craft. With the exception of the wall hangers, most of my rods get fished from time to time. I have long preferred inexpensive graphite rods for fishing the beach at night for stripers, as casting in the dark with big flies and the usual wind, you are bound to hit the rod with the fly occasionally . And I am admittedly remiss about cleaning the salt off them during the season. I find these bargain rods wherever they happen to be, on line, in local tackle shops, etc. I also have some really nice name-brand modern rods, too, which I justify to myself by thinking they are needed for the rare daytime striper excursions, or the extremely rare salmon trip. I like to believe these are better casting and fish fighting tools than the cheap night rods, though the one night rod I have dragged around for nearly twenty years, I paid $69.00 for, and have caught literally hundreds of stripers and bluefish on. It’s beat up, corroded, ugly, but still a great casting and fish fighting tool. I have had its replacement waiting in a closet for ten years, but the old one just won’t fail. I can comfortably cast 60 to 70 feet in the dark with it all night long. I hope when it goes the replacement will do as well. I paid $79.00 for that one. For the real passion of my sporting life, trout fishing, I have a few expensive modern rods of different lengths and line weights, to fish anything from a brook I could jump across to a


raging western river. But I always seem to grab a cane rod unless the weather is totally atrocious or I am pounding out streamers on sinking lines over a large lake. On streams of any type I feel totally out of place without a cane rod in my hand. To be honest, I actually feel guilty catching trout on anything but bamboo. Old habits die hard. That brings me to the point of this ramble. Lately, I have had the pleasure of fishing with my youngest son. We spent many hours fishing together when he was growing up, but then there were fifteen or so years when we didn’t live on the same side of this country. Okay, there were also the all-too-common father-son issues that would probably have kept us from fishing together anyway. But happily both reasons are

resolved and he has developed a strong passion for fishing the fly. He needed to tool up a bit so he dragged me along to a couple fly shops to look for gear. The young guys working at these shops seem to really know their stuff, and they talk confidently about throwing a lot of line, high line speed, covering a lot of water, etc.,. They obviously expect the technology to keep up with them and seem to reject most of the old ideas. Last year’s technology in reels and rods is as out of date as last year’s computer. Might as well be a decade -- a year is totally obsolete! While I was waiting for my son as he test cast a half-dozen rods a few weeks ago, I chatted with an obviously well-informed salesman about how different things looked to me these days. I learned he was also a local guide, and very focused on his proven methods and tackle. His adamancy about these things surprised me. It seemed there was no room for discussion on his techniques, and he felt it his duty to impart these truths to any customer who asked his advice. While I found this disturbing to some degree, I also found it fascinating, as my own experience, which all in all has been pretty productive, has lead me to believe very little about fishing is set in stone. Like the weather in my beloved New England, I have learned the hard way that conditions can change in a heartbeat for better or worse, and your approach had better adjust just as quickly. I listened though, as one of the few benefits of

advancing age is the realization that you can always learn more by listening than talking. So I kept asking questions, occasionally offering a tidbit of my own, which he pretty much rejected immediately. “Well, things are not like that anymore,” he said a few times. This was a shock to me as I had just the night before caught a few nice stripers by my described, though obviously faulty methods. I heard some wisdom in his lecture however, and though I had already figured out he wasn’t the least interested in anything I had to offer, I kept prying. I just had to ask if he had ever had the pleasure of casting or fishing with any of the classic bamboo rods. His reply was that he was a distance caster, only interested in big fish, and little trout and soft old bamboo rods was not his thing. I had been handed my hat! I marveled at his devotion to his ideals and his self-confidence. Oddly enough I liked him anyway, and have since been back to purchase a few things. My son got himself a very nice rod and reel, and has become quite a competent caster once again, as well as a budding authority on all current rod and reel technologies. He is loose on the waters of New England and while I wait out the recovery time of a knee operation, I can only join him in spirit. It will be interesting to see where it all goes from here. I, however encumbered by my own past, cannot wait to get back on my favorite trout stream with seven feet of shimmering silk and bamboo in my hand.


In Extremis

Born of water, the young Wells brothers take kayaking to the edge words and photos by Bennett Barthelemy

Brendan and Todd Wells after a successful run of 82 foot high Metlako Falls Oregon.


They were nearly obscured by mist, dwarfed by massive February icicles and reaching terminal velocity when I first saw the “Blood Brothers.” A crowd of hikers and a ranger were all gathered at a scenic viewpoint high above Eagle Creek in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge for a view of Metlako Falls. For some 30 chilly minutes, I waited with camera braced on the guardrail as there could be no signal from the kayakers who were currently paddling far out of sight through the incredibly steep and forested canyon. Any second they would be dropping 10 stories. With numb feet and hands from waiting … eye and finger glued to my camera … I managed a half-dozen snaps in the quickly fading light. With setting sun and coldness building, my girlfriend Maureen and I decided to quickly jog the mile-and-a-half on the icy trail back to the parking lot. I hoped to meet the kayakers there at take-out and share my photos and shoot them again. Several hundred feet above the river we could just make out the kayakers and the sounds of crunching ice as they used their paddles to chop at the frigid flow and affect their return. Once at the parking, lot we found the two kayakers whose faces were all blood and smiles. We introduced ourselves to Todd and Brendan Wells. They were brothers from just across the Columbia River living in Trout Lake. Todd thought he may have broken his nose on his kayak and looking at my photos of his entry gave evidence

Todd, Johnson and I scouting. “My brother Todd and friend Erik Johnson discussed different possible routes and lines off of 70 foot Outlet Falls. After working out the details including setting safely, filming , and who would run the falls first (me), I anxiously hiked my boat up stream to find my line off the seldom run waterfall.” - Brendan

of the hard landing. I told them I would gladly exchange photos for model releases. As we drove away Maureen commented, “Did they seem really young to you?” When I got their releases I saw that Brendan’s mom had signed for him. It turns out Todd is just 18; his younger brother is 16. Intrigued, I emailed and asked if I could tag along and shoot their next kayak run. I wanted to find out how the two could be so close to the cutting edge and

still be so young. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that adventuring was in their blood. Already venerable in kayaking circles for their myriad accomplishments, and well-traveled, they both exude the confidence and finesse that would be admired at any age in any extreme pursuit. Born of water, the two confess to having been chucked into rafts at a just a few months old by their parents and doing multi-day trips in Alaska and other major


The brothers beginning another run of the Little White Salmon. Both have logged some 50x of this solid class V run.


rivers in the western U.S. Dad was a mountaineer, bagging peaks and even first ascents in Columbia, went big into hang gliding and then started a fly-fishing and rafting guide company in Alaska. Mom was a boater back in the Golden Age of kayaking with a period 16-foot long downriver plastic boat. The “Blood Brothers” describe, in their own words, the passion and thrill of their sport. Todd Wells: “Since I was young my brother and I have been extremely close and I think we both agree that the majority of our quality time together has been spent on the river. About six years ago, my brother and I, together, bought our first whitewater kayak. Since then we’ve been at each other’s sides pushing one another to become better paddlers and to explore and paddle more difficult rivers.” “After graduating from the World Class Kayak Academy, I spent as much time as possible becoming a better paddler. Early in the year, however, I hit a major bump in the road. During my spring break from WCKA I broke my back paddling 50-foot Money Drop Falls in Washington. This set me back for quite a while, but in the long run did good to open my eyes to the relationship between progression in an extreme sport and the injuries we may obtain while driving that progression. After a long summer where I split my time between instructing at a kayak

school and working at our local kayak shop, I moved on to chase some of my biggest kayaking dreams.” Brendan Wells: “The Little White Salmon lies deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest and aside from the put in and take out, is only accessible by kayak. Ancient trees that only see a few hours of sunlight a day line the banks of the deep gorge—a river only to be paddled with your very best of friends as complete trust in each other is the only way to safely navigate the frigid water. Every run I’ve taken on the Little White has its own challenges and no lap is ever the same. The slightest bit of distraction can mean a brutal swim or beat-down. Every decent has taught me something new. “Horseshoe is by far my most feared drop on the Little White. I didn’t spend as much time in the keeper hole as I did previously, but I knew I was in a bad situation with the 10-foot ledge named “stovepipe” just below me. I emerged out of the hole and

Todd on Outlet, “Through the tiny screen of the video camera, I nervously watch my brother stop in an eddy just feet above the lip of Outlet Falls, re-enter the current and fade into the veil of the waterfall.” - Brendan “Here I find myself completely enveloped...” - Todd


“There’s no better feeling than paddling down one of the most fun and challenging runs in the area and then end the day launching off of 30 foot Spitit Falls on the Little White Salmon River.” - Brendan

Todd and I above Spirit. “Todd and I quickly discussed our lines off of Spirit Falls for round two of the day.” - Brendan

was hit by a throw rope. Tao Berman pulled me out just before the lip of stovepipe as I watched my brothers’ almost-new Nomad 8.5 go over the drop and into the undercut cave following the drop. The sunken orange craft was quickly sucked out of sight to the back of the cave. Todd’s boat finally flushed several months later, in half.” Learn more http://toddwellswhitewater.blogspot.com/ http://brendanwellskayaking.blogspot.com/

“On Spirit Falls the key is to launch away from the waterfall and maintain a 45 degree angle when you enter the pool. Here Brendan dials the line.” - Todd


Passive read-sistence: The 9 books that may lengthen your time with airport security.

By Brian Krans We, as Americans, believe we live in a free country. Free to do as we please, so long as we’re not breaking any laws, whether they be federal, state, county or otherwise. Thankfully, reading something isn’t a crime. For now. But if you’ve traveled by plane anywhere recently, you know you either have the option of having your genitals microwaved via body scanner, or groped by twitchy people with badges and rubber gloves. Humor is not an option. Flaunting your literary deviance, however, is. So if you’ve arrived at the airport hours before your scheduled flight, here are some titles that may lengthen your stay with the TSA. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson Apparently packing a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers and laughers is best left to the open highway. If you take yours (and this book) through security, you might get some extra attention from a fluffy doggy with a specially trained nose. The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey Yes, this novel has become dogma for those fighting for the environment and against its destruction, but take the “eco” out of “ecoterrorism,” throw in characters tinkering with machinery and you might have enough to get a private room pat down.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd Since one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist, this graphic novel about a masked vigilante seeking revenge and freedom for his nation may not have the well-intended effect to the people who are looking out for that sort of thing.

Some extra attention from a fluffy dog with a specially trained nose. Survivor by Chuck Palahnuik What would you expect from the guy who wrote Fight Club? This novel’s pages count backwards as Tender Branson, the last remaining member of a death cult and a religious icon, dictates his story into a hijacked airplane’s black box as it careens toward the Australian outback. While there’s a safe chance most stewards of airport security haven’t even heard of the book, the crucifix-like airplane on the cover might raise an eyebrow. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell As we live in a fear-mongering society, even Googling the title can have the CIA, NSA, FBI or any other list of government acronyms scouring through your hard drive. You own a copy and flash it in front of the TSA, you’d be lucky to get home for Christmas if you left today.

The Quran (or any other religious book originating from the Middle East except the Bible) This needs no explanation. If you have dark hair, tan well, and have an accent, you already know how big of a hassle the airport will be. Sure, religion is supposed to be free, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay the price. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Holden Caufield might be just another kid looking for enough time, but there might be enough TSA agents that listen to The Beatles to connect the dots long enough that you miss your connecting flight.

TSA Screening Management Standard Operating Procedures by the TSA itself Nothing pisses people off more than knowing the rules they’re supposed to be following. This accidentally leaked manual is actually illegal to own. Not bad, considering your tax dollars paid for it.

Brian Krans’ latest novel, Freeze Tag on the Highway, from Rock Town Press will be released in July. You can most likely travel safely with it.


Polar explorer links survival exploring to human survival : The

Will Steger PRO file

by Bennett Barthelemy photos courtesy Will Steger


Will Steger: Polar Explorer, Author, EducatorHe’s endured 40 consecutive days of blizzards with 100 mph winds way above the Arctic Circle with only a tent for shelter. He’s survived 50-below temps as pack ice breaks up and sends men and sled dogs into the ocean. His explorations have garnered him the Lindbergh Award and Lowell Thomas Award, National Geographic Adventure’s Lifetime Achievement Award and he served as National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence in 1996. Will Steger has a resume that would impress Marco Polo. At age 18, in 1963, Steger kayaked a few thousand miles of Alaska’s Inside Passage and chatted up old timers from the Alaska’s 1899 Gold Rush and natives, alike. He was 20 years old when he signed on as expedition member to summit unclimbed peaks in South America -- a great experience, Steger is quick to say. And while two people died on his team, it showed him the real consequences of an adventure at the edge. Following the South America climb, Steger has logged 45 years dancing at the edge of possibility as leader of his own expeditions that have been lauded as the most important explorations of the Polar regions yet made. He has never had a serious injury or a death resulting from his adventures that could well-be defined as the real “extreme.” So, how does someone make a career and survive a life-long path of extreme exploration -- one that has built-in a pre-requisite of monumental physical and mental stamina while oblivion continually

“You work hard! It’s simply a matter of doing it.” beckons? CLIMATE EXTREMES, SURVIVAL EXTREMES Steger is uniquely situated as the authority on climate change and I was curious if he thought my expensive mountaineering boots I just purchased were a waste of money. Here in Portland, Oregon, we have endured the wettest winter in 117 years and that gives one pause for thought regarding the realities of global warming. Steger, who has ridden a dog sled, walked and kayaked across many of the most remote, inhospitable, coldest and downright dangerous places on earth believes global warming and climate change are happening on a continental scale because of what he has witnessed first-hand. Very matter-of-factly Steger says humans are on the edge. This concerns him, as this is precisely where he likes to be — at the proverbial edge. Steger believes climate change is offering an important opportunity to explore the edge of our continued survival. A question-and-answer session with Steger yields interesting insights:

What is a key personality trait to endure polar expeditions? “You work hard! It’s simply a matter of doing it.” Dogs or people… If you had to chose? “Dogs are really the only way to travel out there and they are very good travel companions. They are a great neutralizer between people, too. At the end of the day on an expedition, you talk about the dogs. I breed dogs and I spend three years training with my dogs for an expedition.” Why do you believe the Greenland Eskimo dog is the “toughest in the world?” “They can survive 70-below temps. They have a really good spirit, and pound-for-pound they are the toughest. They are like wolverines; they don’t give up.” Kids that are graduating high school… what should they do to jumpstart their lives at a young age as you did?


“Put their packs on and go!” Your bleakest moment? “On March 8, it was 50 below. It was the start of the 1995 expedition and we had just been training for three years. We were in the shear zone [the dynamic area of ice between the moving pack ice and the stable landfast ice] off the coast of Russia — one of the most dangerous places in the world to be when the pack ice breaks up. A team of 30 dogs ended up in the water and two men. Things were out of control. But it was just a matter of doing it. We never stopped moving for two-and-ahalf days to reach solid land. “Reinhold Messner [in a solo attempt to traverse the Arctic] was a day ahead of us when it broke up and managed to get a rescue beacon message — he was ahead of the curve on that technology — out to his wife and 17 hours later he was helicoptered out by the Russians.” Most rewarding things you have ever done? “I helped develop some technology that enabled us to communicate from the Polar regions. For example, we posted the first photo at the North Pole on the internet back in 1995 — no easy task back then. I have been using my explorations and available technology to reach people. Adventure attracts people and the internet technology makes relationships possible that were not in the past. The internet has enabled me, as an educator, to use expeditions as a tool to connect to people, to educate, inspire and hopefully to fix. “Through crossing the Arctic in the 1989-90 expedition, I was also able to help preserve it. In

1990, it was essentially up for grabs. Countries were meeting behind closed doors because the Antarctic Treaty that had been drawn up in 1959 was up for renegotiation. There was no mineral clause when it was drawn up and signed and because we had so much media attention and a huge following we were able to help save it from mineral exploration. That experience really helped me feel like a piece of history.” A hero in the climate change world? “Jim Hansen, chief engineer for NASA and climatologist. We have a mutual awareness of climate change from 20,000 feet to the ground. Weather and climate, I know it and can predict it and that’s how I have survived. We see it [climate change] clearly. Jim has continually stood up and been a voice for climate change since the beginning.” What can I do to start living more responsibly? “Vote. Be civically active. If you don’t vote you

have no power. There was record voting by the youth for Obama. This makes me optimistic. We need the same spirit as the protests in the Vietnam era and come together — but this is not the time to be idealistic or to shout. The reality of climate change is that it is economic and we can solve it through fixing the economy. We need the internet to start connecting people. We have seen this in the Middle East already — it moves politicians. “There is a storm on the horizon and it’s scary, but we have the power to fix it. Sweden’s economy is great. They have managed to reduce their fossil fuel use by 50 percent and to generate half of their own energy from within the country. Climate change will be fixed financially and is tied to our financial future. We need the business conservatives to see this. Climate change is not political.” Your next expedition? “To travel across the coldest place in the northern hemisphere at the coldest time of year. I want to be pushed to the edge, to have the awareness that comes with it. I want this to be the most extreme adventure yet because that is where the learning experience is. You need to use all your human resources to figure things out. There is an educational component to it as well, a parallel. The US is in a similar space now with climate change. Humanity is on the edge. I want to do something about it. It’s a good place for the U.S. to be. We must see this edge as an opportunity and get motivated. Like any edge it requires thoughtful action to survive and that is what is encouraging — it forces us to act rather than be passive or in a state


of denial.” What would you like to help accomplish before you die? “I want to see the United States taking the lead on climate change and to be self-reliant for its energy needs so it will be secure in its financial future. When I see all these flat-topped roofs in the urban sprawl, all these Wal-Marts, I see solar panels on them. I want us to be a leader and move away from fossil fuels that will ruin the climate. I want to see the youth organizing with the help of the internet, see them concerned and get moving to get this nonsense corrected. It is not just about the environment it is about the economy. We have an opportunity to be a leader and to turn it around.” Message to the youth? “Nature deficit is happening. Get yourself connected to nature. Unless you have a sense or feel for the environment you can’t fully articulate yourself. It is important to get outside — society will be better for it.” Learn More http://www.willsteger.com/ Below are excerpts from Steger’ Journals written in February of 2004: The Greenland Eskimo, by far the toughest dog in the world, brought many positive physical traits. This included the best coat for cold, windy conditions. The coat is two layers. The inner layer is fine, insulating hair, similar to the down on a duck.

This is shed in the summer in enormous quantities. I used to collect it, and have it spun for socks and mitts, creating some of the warmest hand and footwear I have ever had. The second layer is thick, long haired protection called guard hair. The guard hair keeps wind and snow out. It is so thick, that if these dogs are immersed in water, the insulating layer does not get wet. The guard hair allows our dogs to sleep on the ice without allowing their body heat to melt the ice. All other common dogs lack this layer. Plus, the insulation would melt the ice if they slept on it. Our dogs’ optimum temperature is minus 30 to minus 40. Their problem is the opposite of what you might expect. It is overheating. When temperatures get above zero, we have to be careful so as to not overheat the dogs. On warm, sunny days, we take cooling off breaks. +++ We traveled today. It cleared off overnight, when the storm died down. Our tent was quite buried in a hard packed snow drift, sealing off our vents. In the morning, while heating water for tea, our candle slowly died out. We couldn’t get the matches to light, a sign of oxygen depletion. We had to open up the doors and let the cold air in to get things back in order. It was very cold all day. The high was minus 38 degrees Fahrenheit, with a south-southwest wind. Many delays with the heavy sleds getting stuck on large snowdrifts, which cut across our path. On led on skis, using the GPS and compass to navigate. It was very deceiving low topography, where land and

lakes were hard to distinguish. It was most important to pick a good route, to avoid rocks and have a good alignment against the drifts. Dogs and drivers had a tiring day. +++ Despite the toil, it was a beautiful day. In the mid-afternoon sun, I felt a twinge of heat for the first time. I faced the sun many times today during the various delays, sure I felt heat. It was crystal clear all day, and at sunset the snow drifts turned red like the orb of the sun, well-defined as it san below the horizon. It was very cold making camp. The stars came out above us, and the northern lights cast veils of white light to the south, covering Orion and Sirius, the dog star, which twinkled bright greens and blues as it rose from the cold earth. There is heavy frost on the inside of the tent, a sign of intense cold outside. We switched over to Central Time this evening…


In Extremis

Views, ghosts of wars past make challenging Via Ferrata Ivana Dibona worth the climb

words and photos by James Cruikshank


car from our camp. The sky was brilliant blue and the sun was hot. At Rio Gere we took the chairlift up the mountain -- because that’s how it’s done in Europe. No long slogs up 1000 meters of elevation to get into the alpine. Just hop a chairlift or gondola and in 20 to 30 minutes you’re ready to do some alpine hiking. Easy!

My phone started talking to me: “The time is 6:15. The time is 6:15.” And then it proceeded to vibrate. As it woke me from a short night’s sleep, I reached under my pillow and squeezed a button to silence it. There was a hint of light outside the tent. I sat up and shook my partner.

We arrived at Refugio Sonforca (2255m) and then causally walked over to the gondola that leads to Staunies peak (2900m). This was our first hurdle -- to quickly jump into the tubular gondola lift as it pelted past us at high speed. I watched as a tough young Italian guy in a leather jacket working at the lift was forcefully and abruptly shoving large tourists through the tiny doors. I thought, “No problem. I’m skinny; I’ll fit in.” But as the gondola came my way I snubbed the Italian and said “ciao,” but jumped a bit too quickly and slammed against the other side of the lift door and bloodied my lip.

“It’s time to get up,” I said. “Get crackin’, we want to finish the Ivano Dibona via ferrata in the day light.” I crawled out of the tent, stood up, smiled as I had a feeling today was going to be one to remember. The via ferrata Ivano Dibona is in the Italian Dolomites, two hundred kilometers north of Venice. It follows suspension bridges, ladders, rock tunnels, wooden bridges that are bolted onto rock faces and exposed ridge lines. It is also a living museum. The mountains were used by the Italian army during the First World War and along the via ferrata are bunkers, trenches, tunnels, and wooden huts that Italian soldiers used. The Dolomites were strategic viewpoints served as attack centers for any invading forces. The basic techniques of via ferrata are easy. You follow a continuous cable and keep clipping into it at all times, though the terrain following the cable may be highly adventurous. You can buy already assembled via ferrata kits, which are

composed of a harness, with two shock absorbing slings and two carabiners. These kits provide shock absorption and may save your life in case you fall. A helmet, leather gloves and sturdy shoes are also a good idea. Via ferrata can be dangerous. German climbing legend Kurt Albert died in September 2010 in an accident on a via ferrata in Bavaria, Germany, but he had not been clipped into the safety cable. We had arrived at Refugio Rio Gere (1670m) via

Climbing the bound mountain At the top of the lift was Forcella Staunies peak (2900m) that gave us a spectacular view of the valley floor and the surrounding mountain peaks. I wrenched my eyes from the beautiful 360-degree view to see the start of the via ferrata – the mountain chained into submission by human hands. I also noticed a clearly sign-posted metal walkway leading to an eerie memorial to the mountaineer Ivano Dibona with its strange


sion bridge crosses a very deep gorge. I stepped out onto the bridge and happily jogged to the middle, then the wind picked up and I bounced a bit – “Whoa, now.” I decided it was not a good time for a scenic view and continued to the other side.

photo. I studied the picture and thought that Dibona looked happy. Past the memorial was an iron ladder leading to the first metal cables -- our first experience of the via ferrata. Following the short climb up the ladder were the first cables. They lead leftwards after a few hundred meters into a carved out tunnel and cave lookout. I imagine the lookout as a sniper point or a viewpoint of approaching soldiers. The cold at this altitude and the dampness of the cave made me feel light-headed -- or was I feeling the ghostly spirits of half-starved soldiers who died a violent death? We continued walking slowly along the historical walkway, clipping and re-clipping the leashes that were attached to our harnesses. In front of us lay the wooden “Ponte del Cristallo” suspension bridge. This awe-inspiring suspen-

We continued towards the summit of Cristallino d’Ampezzo (3008m). First, we climbed up a 40-meter, semi-vertical ladder and then followed along an equipped cable-way. There were a lot of parties attached to the cables, basically blocking our way. At first, we politely asked to pass and waited while they came to a place where they felt secure. However, as impatient as I am, I quickly unleashed myself from the cables and walked calmly around the groups that were tethered to the mountain. People gave me terrified stares. My partner, head bowed in shame, followed suit. We were not climbing corporate ladders, but via ferrata ladders! Reaching the summit, I could see buildings constructed out of stone that blended into the rock landscape. I felt energy swirl around my body and waves of air around me. I felt

lighter, as if some sinister force was trying to pull me from the mountain top. My mind raced through various paranoid scenarios – maybe the evil soldier ghosts were entering my thoughts, maybe energy waves from outer space were messing with my internal systems, maybe my partner was trying to murder me… I decided to calm myself and try to find a place to stop and rest. Maybe I needed some food and it was low blood sugar that was shaking me. After passing military constructions, the path led to an old bivouac site. We stopped to rest and had some water and food. I sat inside and the ghostly shadows drifted around my mind. I was


of cold and starvation in this shelter during the cold winters over ninety years ago. The food did make me feel better though and we continued. Readying for the come-down We ascended slightly along the south face of Col Pistone to Vecio del Forame peak (2870m). From here, we followed the ridge to Forcella Alta peak (2640m), enjoying views on either side. A steep scree descent leads to Forcella Bassa peak (2417m). As we had marched along, past the slower and less-experienced hikers – the gumbies, I was worried about the descent. We would now be downhill from them when they began their descent. We would be vulnerable to rock fall and the rock scree was very loose. It was hard to keep our footing and not let an avalanche of rock go sliding down. The gumbies could send careening rock down the descent chutes and gullies, to come smashing onto our over-excited brains. So we decided the best course of action was to hurry as fast as possible down the steep cable chute section of the descent, then move out of the path of rock fall.

feeling the altitude and my head throbbed -- I saw a light move to my left in the dark corners. Oh, I thought, it’s nothing but dust floating around. I wondered how many people had died

We could see a descent path that zigzagged rapidly down to the forest below. At the bottom was Padeon Valley. I stumbled and bumbled my way through the chute not bothering to clip myself into the cable, but using it instead to assist myself as I climbed down the death chute. Ten sweaty minutes later we exited the chute and

trod our way leftwards into the scree field, which was still susceptible to massive boulders cutting loose and trundling us to death. But we at least would be able to move out of the way in time, we hoped. I stopped to catch my breath and wipe the sweat off, I thought of how insane and frantic the down climb was through the chute. If I had fallen I could have been seriously hurt. Maybe it was time to slow things down. After an hour-long, quad-burning decent, the intrepid hikers (us!) entered a beautiful alpine meadow with small trees and shrubs. We lay down in the warm sun and inhaled sweet smells of nature’s vibrant growth spurt. Small alpine flowers of red and yellow caressed our cheeks and were flattened by our bottoms. This adventurous hike is long and requires a certain degree of general fitness, spiritual atonement, historical understanding and outdoor skills. I would highly recommend this via ferrata because of the adventure factor. The view from the top of the mountains is phenomenal and the historical World War I bunkers, caves and huts make it a unique open museum. With red cheeks and glowing eyes, we returned to Refugio Somforca and the start of the gondola ride. We descended to the starting point of the hike and took the bus into the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo for pizza and beer.


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A view of Mt. Hood from Horsethief Butte SP in Washington. Bennett Barthelemy photo

P H O TG OA L L E R Y

A mockingbird dances between mimicked calls. J. James Joiner photo


Bennett Barthelemy in Virgin Utah Maureen Eversgerd photos


North Six Shooter in Indian Creek Utah. Bennett Barthelemy photo


Rocky rainbow Alec Muthig photo


I love taking pictures of bugs. I think it’s great that we go about our daily lives, and all around us there is this bustling megalopolis of colorful, crazy looking creatures toiling away. This ladybug took a moment to hang out. J. James Joiner photo


This inchworm was inside some flowers at a friend’s house. The crazy blacklight look comes from the sun reflecting through the petals. J. James Joiner photo


My daughter hatched a praying mantis egg, and hundreds of these little fellows appeared one day, We let them go in the garden, and they immediately went on patrol. In actual size, this one is about 1/8 of an inch. J. James Joiner photo


Blind Pilot are one of those amazing bands that encompass all the right styles of music while sounding completely unique. Before they reached the level of popularity they’re at now, they used to tour up and down the West Coast on bikes with trailers. J. James Joiner photo


Not sure how you’d describe O’ Death... Cowboy folk hardcore? Here they stand out at the generally genteel Newport Folk Festival. J. James Joiner photo


The What Cheer? Brigade strutting their stuff... J. James Joiner photo


Viewed from Higher Cathedral Spire, two parties of climbers engage the timeless old-school classic line, the Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock, Yosemite National Park California. Bennett Barthelemy photo


Looking Glass Rock in the Utah desert near Canyonlands National Park. Bennett Bethelemy photo

The last few strokes on any waterfall are the most critical. Brendan makes his last minor adjustments before freefalling 70+ft.� - Todd Wells. Photo by Bennett Barthelemy


Maureen Eversgerd cruising Looking Glass Rock with the La Sal mountains as backdrop, Utah. Bennett Barthelemy photo


Tamara Hastie climbing an unknown and forgotten beauty in Yosemite National Park. Bennett Barthelemy photo


Amanda Bentley James trailrunning with her dog Kenya near Red Rocks, Nevada. I was looking for images, the sun was going down and she was perfect for the part. She took off with her dog, the sun was setting fast and this was the photograph I took. Brett Holman photo


Act Bolder, earn rewards Website Bolder.is offers prizes for those who meet or make a challenge while bridging the gap between brand and consumer.

words by J.James Joiner photos courtesy Bolder.is


Take a hike, get free shoes. Rinse your laundry in cold water, get a discount on Method cleaning products. Action, reward. Action, Reward. Bolder.is has taken this concept and created a movement. A couple of months ago I was told about Bolder. is, a new type of interactive promotional site, by a friend in the outdoor industry. Bolder was working in conjunction with name brand manufacturers to create and “challenges” that required direct interaction with potential consumers. By completing the challenges – say, taking a long hike, creating a mid-day “recess” like we all had in grade school – and documenting them for the site, consumers put themselves in the running for an assortment of prizes. The best responses to creating or completing challenges wins the participants free footwear by sponsors like KEEN or discounts on Seventh Generation cleaning products. And over time, the Bolder site appears to have gone on to create its own sort of active community. Fascinated and impressed by the concept, I tracked down Jeremy Barton, Bolder co-founder and CEO. So first of all, in your own words, what and who is Bolder? “Bolder is a fun and new way for people to interact and motivate action through challenge and reward. Bolder believes that everyone has the power to change the world. In an effort to connect people with that concept, we’ve built an online platform that helps people and businesses organize action that takes place in the real world,

and is shared at www.Bolder.is” How and when did it come into being? Do you all have backgrounds in marketing? “Bolder was founded in 2010 by me (Jeremy Barton), along with Matt McDonald and Rob Boyle, when we recognized that the increasing use of social media offered an opportunity to transfer online connection into real-life action. With backgrounds in finance, technology and business development, as well as interests in social progress and active lifestyles, the drive for joining forces was more about building a business for change by bringing together our complimentary skill sets.” Was it hard to launch? What were some of the obstacles that you had to overcome? “As with any startup, yes, there were obstacles to overcome but that’s what makes starting a business fun, right? The biggest obstacle so far was probably figuring out how Bolder was going to function in a way that offered the desired results but was also fun, and rewarding for the people taking action. Some of the smaller obstacles included things like office space -- we eventually landed at the loft in the Rickshaw Bagworks’ factory in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, which is a great fit for us!” How did you get your first challenge partners? Who do you work with now? “One of our first Challenge partners was Whole Foods Market in Palo Alto. At the beginning, we were focused on making sure Bolder worked at the local level, and Whole Foods Market in Palo

Alto seemed like a natural partner. We are all Stanford grads and were living nearby. When we met with them, they saw Bolder as a fun way to encourage action from their customers. That was in line with their objectives as a company. Since that first challenge (it seems like so long ago), we offer any business or individual the ability to start a challenge, and in terms of businesses, we focus our efforts on partners that have something to offer both locally and nationally. Most recently this has included KEEN Footwear, Mountain Khakis, Stonyfield, Soap.com, Seventh Generation, Tom’s of Maine, and many more.” What seems to be the general reaction to the site? Do you have a steady stream of regular participants starting to develop a culture around the site? What has been the favorite challenge so far?

User Matt M. completed the Challenge from Oboz Footwear to “Go for a hike” “Hiked up the Cocaine Chute in the Eastern Sierra. 4K feet up and an icy ski down. Booyah!” http://www.bolder.is/action/26100/


Mat R. completed the Challenge from Whole Foods Market Palo Alto to “High five someone for a job well done” “30 pull-ups on a work break. REALLY? Matt deserved a flying high five for that sweet pump up! “ http://www.bolder.is/action/5625/

“Overall, the reaction to the site has been extremely positive and the good news is that people are “getting” Bolder and becoming part of the Bolder community. In terms of our favorite challenge, there have been so many that are fun or fulfilling in different and new ways every day (week, month, etc.) that it’s impossible to limit this to one favorite. I can say that as a team, the office has been loving KEEN’s challenge to “Take a 15-minute recess.” We did a full month and we even teamed up with Rickshaw Bagworks’ office mates to play a bit of Duckduck-goose!” What does the future hold for Bolder? Will you be expanding or changing in any way? “Bolder is only getting started. We aspire to be the place where people go for inspiration. As

we’ve seen how well Bolder works for businesses, we expanded our challenges to include User Challenges: the ability for anyone (and everyone) to start a challenge. It’s great to see what kind of challenges and rewards individuals are coming up with, and it would be an understatement to say that we’ve seen some creative uses of the system. User Challenges really empower the individual to motivate their own networks towards action. Bolder also has some cool technology in the works, and you can look for updates on that and everything else in the coming months on our company blog:http:// blog.bolder.is/” Any good anecdotes? “One example of a Bolder Challenge partnership that really made an impact was the 9 Challenges that Soap.com ran with us moving into Earth Day 2011. These challenges inspired nearly 6,000 actions in a number of days by encouraging people to take up green practices and household activities, such as rinsing your laundry in cold water, that can greatly reduce resource use in exchange for a reward of a discount with a green minded brand (Method, Seventh Generation, etc.). “Another example is Stonyfield, an organic yogurt company. Stonyfield ran a challenge to “Eat an Organic Breakfast.” Nova R., a Bolder member, shared her action of how she has a slight twist on the traditional blueberry muffin recipe. The community voted this action as the best response to Stonyfield’s Challenge, so

Jeremy B. completed the Challenge from KEEN to “Take a 15 minute recess” “SF is amazing right now. took a break to walk around the block and think through a few things. got a heel click in, of course” http://www.bolder.is/action/15288/

we followed up with Nova to get a bit more of her story. Nova shared how her mother’s battle with Diabetes had a big effect on improvements to her own health through exercise and healthy eating. In particular, this quote from Nova resonated with us: “One day while I was cooking, trying to remake a healthier breakfast omelet, it dawned on me that life is about choices.” Nova explained how the small actions she was taking on a daily basis to focus on more exercise and healthier eating were greatly improving her life overall. We are thrilled to see such a heartwarming, real-world response on Bolder and to Stonyfield’s Challenge!


“Atayne, an athletic gear company, ran a challenge to “Plan an active date.” Tina, a Bolder member, shared her action of how she had recently gotten engaged on a snowshoe trip near Mt. Hood. The community voted this action up, and so we followed up with Tina to get a bit more of her story, which you can see on Bolder. is. We were thrilled to have such a heartwarming, real-world response to Atayne’s Challenge!” Last words? “Start a challenge! It’s easy and fun and can help drive some real-life action. Please visit www. Bolder.is to get started, and let us know what you think!”

Rob B. completed the Challenge from Adam Kreek to “Do 5 pushups” “Don’t let Eric deceive you. He is clearly half a push-up BEHIND Tank and I. That’s me on the left, dominating our set of 35.” http://www.bolder.is/action/27679/

Annie F. completed the Challenge from Mountain Khakis to “Share your favorite outdoor adventure” “I climbed up a crumbling mountain side to see some caves in Eastern Turkey. I found bones in the caves, but almost couldn’t climb down! “ http://www.bolder.is/action/24813/


(and in his own words)


Photos and story by Brett Holman. Just say the words “4 a.m. wake-up call” and every outdoor photographer will smile and say, “Yup.” My cell phone alarm goes off, my frozen fingers reach for my headlamp and I roll out of my zero-degree sleeping bag in my 1999 Ford E250 van. I wipe my eyes, throw on my North Face puffy jacket, start pressing the coffee, and step out into my office in the outdoors for another day of living my personal dream. Nothing has fueled my fire for the active lifestyle more than being a vagabond outdoor and travel lifestyle documentary photographer. I’m not talking about casually taking pictures that are pretty, but a lifestyle where every day you have to find and make the best pictures possible in the given situation. My days are spent researching, driving, exploring, talking to hitchhikers, camping out, scouting locations and ping-ponging myself into various outdoor lifestyles that offer up the most potential to make compelling images and stories. My photography is distinguished by my approach. I never know what story I’m going to tell because the majority of the time I don’t know who or what is going to be in my pictures. I travel up to 200 days per year driving in my van, hitting local trailheads, hiking, mountain biking, running and riding my motorcycle to locations where I can meet and photograph a unique group of people. Every day I get up and I wonder, “who I will meet today and who will make the best ambassador and story for my style of photography?” I look for people who struggle to live out their passion. The person with the most money doesn’t win. Maybe it’s a young couple that spent three years saving their hard-earned money to drive from Alaska to Chile, or a guy named “Rattlesnake Mike” who walks around the country on foot, eats road kill and has a pet rattlesnake in his backpack. It doesn’t matter to me as long as the story follows my basic premise: Is this person active? Is this person unique? Do they have the right attitude about the lifestyle and are they doing it for the right reasons? I’ve hiked to a trailhead, met someone for 15 minutes and started traveling with them for days and sometimes weeks. My van is loaded up with almost everything I need to do a variety of outdoor sports. I’m always prepared with food, water, equipment and a fully charged camera. A motorcycle trip may turn into a backpacking trip in an instant

Jessica Mickey and Troy Silva living out their dream in Joshua Tree during their Alaska to Chile Pan American journey. I spent a couple weeks traveling with the couple and loved telling their story.


Photographer Brett Holman shows his perspective during a relaxing evening in the Eastern Sierra in California.


“Rattlesnake Mike� walks around the country and survives off the land. He got the name because he told me he used to travel with a pet rattlesnake. He loves quality coffee and the freedom of his lifestyle.


and I need to be ready to roll with a person or group and start documenting the story no matter what. At the very basic level, I’m searching for people who live life with a passion like I have for photography. When nothing is happening to shoot, I tell my story of my life behind the lens. Photography brings so much value and meaning into my own life that I feel it’s important to show how I’m getting my images and really making a lifestyle out of it. I could be sitting on the rim of the Grand Canyon wondering where I should travel to next and thinking to myself, “If I were another photographer, would this be a photograph that I would take?” If the answer is yes, I document myself in that moment. A couple of years ago, the resulting Grand Canyon image ended up on the cover of Backpacker Magazine. I have my travel moments that aren’t ideal, but they show the struggle and willingness to endure the lifestyle I’ve chosen for myself. Whether I’m stuck in a bathroom downloading images in Glacier National Park because it’s the only outlet I can find or I’m sitting in my van, tired, dirty and exhausted because I haven’t showered in 33 days, it’s all part of the game. It’s the only lifestyle that keeps me learning, keeps me problemsolving 1000 times per day, and keeps me meeting and hanging out with my kind of people. This constant search for charismatic people and spectacular places has created an inventory of fantastic shooting locations. Another part of the photography business that I’m involved with is scouting. Some of the most experienced and sought-after adventure photographers like Corey Rich hire me to scout locations for their corporate clients. Knowing and studying locations gives any photographer the advantage of being able to shoot in optimal conditions. It also provides the client with a firm grasp on how to conceptualize a visual marketing strategy when they can see what location will represent their products best. I have no trouble sitting in the mountains for days on end or running around the city looking for a unique angle for an urban lifestyle shot. Not only does it create better images for my photography but also it’s an integral part of the photography and video business. My favorite moments to date are about working hard to be in a location, meeting cool people along the way and telling the story of my new friends and me living the lifestyle. In the Slickrock Trail parking lot in Moab, Utah I met Lars Romig, Dave Lloyd and “Billy Idol Dave” just after I got done riding the infamous Slickrock Trail. Tired and with no time to rest, I grabbed my camera gear, introduced myself and headed back on the trail to ride again. If you want the pictures you have to chase after them no matter how tired you are. After the ride we hung out around the campfire, had pizza and beer,

Photographer Brett Holman scouting for images near Bishop, California.


Sarah Golowacz living on her sailboat in San Diego, California. She is a perfect example of what I’m looking for when I’m looking for photographs.


Photographer Brett Holman finds a cabin to stay in for the night. I stumbled onto this and it was one of those moments that really shows off the fact that you never know what you’ll find when you are on the hunt for images.


and shared a camp together for a few days, all the time cracking jokes and enjoying the experience. In this face-paced life of hellos and goodbyes I really appreciate getting to know my fellow travelers. I’ve always said that spending a week in a tent with someone builds a stronger friendship than a year of normal life would. I really have a special bond with all of the people I photograph. I believe in them and how they live their life, and I know they feel the same way about me. We are lucky to have figured out a lifestyle that keeps us exploring life to the fullest. Photography has been my vehicle to see the world. It is something that gets you, grabs you and doesn’t let you go. I’m always inspired by how imagery makes people smile and what it does for the human spirit. One of the great pioneers to adventure and travel photography, the late Galen Rowell, who took on many assignments for National Geographic sums it up by saying his “deep appreciation goes to the Geographic Society for allowing [Rowell] to pursue open-ended assignments that have not restricted the personal passion which is always at the heart of meaningful photography.” In the world of the almighty dollar it’s very important for me to follow my own path to meaningful photography. Without this passion for the search, I would simply be another person taking pictures and selling them. For me the lifestyle and road to the photographs is just as important as the photographs themselves. It’s been said many times before, but the journey is the destination and this is my life behind the lens.

Self portrait during a scouting mission at the Grand Canyon.


The author ready for action in the Utah wilderness. Maureen Eversgerd photo

Gear Reviews

New to the scene, Mile High’s Fiftytwo 80 sets a new standard for packs. by Bennett Bethelemy It just screamed, “Put me on your back!” Eighty liters in an uber-sleek, sexy design, the Mile High Mountaineering [www.mhmgear.com] Fifty-two 80 deluxe pack lived up to its marketing hype: “We offer a design blend of the best functionality, quality, comfort, innovation and aesthetics that you just won’t find in other packs. We’re here to show that

a backpack can look good AND offer cutting-edge innovation and technical features.” Mile High Mountaineering has burst on the scene this year with its first line of packs, and the Fifty-two 80 does not disappoint. I have worn over 40 different packs as climber, adventure photographer, backpacker and guide. When a pack is loaded to more than 100 pounds, no amount of hype is going to save the day. As part turtle – I carry my home on my back -- I routinely carry over 100 pounds on crazy terrain and have for 14 years. When I took my first real guiding job that required schlepping ridiculous loads over scrambly fourth- and even low fifth-class terrain, it signaled the demise of my once-straight spine that today is sadly compressed and moving toward resembling the letter ‘C.’ If I had the Fifty-two 80 pack back then, things would surely be different. So what’s the skinny? Pros: No “yard sale” action with the Fifty-two 80 — everything fits neatly inside the cavernous pack and it cinches like a dream. It fits like the perfect rock

climbing shoe and tackles the roughest terrain without pitching me willy-nilly — and it is holding up to the most extreme use. Cons: The only negative about the pack is the two-liter Nalgene® carrier. If I were an octopus I would surely love it, but needing two people to extract it and replace it is just silly. But this is about as minor a flaw I can imagine. Conclusion: This pack could well be the new gold standard. Jeff Popp, president, founder and product development manager at Mile High Mountaineering, has raised the bar for the rest of the pack world to catch up The company’s vision: “What drives the design of our packs is simple: People. We actually listen to what YOU, the end-user, want from a pack. We are not shy about the fact that our goal is to make the best packs available. Period. … It has essentially been the same players in this game for the past 30 years, the thinking is stagnant and the products are so-so. It’s definitely time for new, youthful and passionate companies to step up and stir things up in the outdoor world.” Marketing hype? I say no, and so does my back.

Fifty-Two 80 Mile High Mountaineering [www.mhmgear.com] Volume: 80+10 liters Weight: 5 lbs 5 oz Fits Torso: 17-22 in. Number of Stays: 2 Main Pack fabric: 315 denier ripstop Invista CORDURA® Plus, Nylon 6.6, 80g PU/DWR. Bottom Fabric: 840 denier Invista CORDURA® HD, Nylon 6.6, 80g PU/DWR. POP color: 210 denier mini diamond, Nylon 6.0, 40g PU/DWR. Frame Material: 3mm x 20mm & 3mm x 25mm 6061 tempered aluminum stays, 1.5mm HDPE framesheet MSRP:

$349


Zilla-Tool, Guppie tackle tricky tasks in the field and on the rocks

words and photos Bennett Barthelemy Zilla-Tool® For nearly any outdoor pursuit, a multi-tool is functional gear. But a great multi-tool is truly indispensible. Columbia River Knife and Tool [www.crkt.com] offered a couple at a lower price than some of the heavy-hitting competitors out there, so my expectations of finding a great tool were tempered a bit ¬– “hopes high and expectations low” has served me well as a general mantra. But both tools far exceeded my initial expectations. Zilla-Tool® -- Five days on the Tanner Route in the Grand Canyon with the Zilla-Tool and we

became fast friends. The spring-loaded, needlenosed pliers are surprisingly solid, as is all CRKT gadgetry. Together we tackled recalcitrant tent zippers, field stripped sand-clogged stoves and cut blister tape. And though it has no can opener, I even opened a can of beans with the three-inch blade with ease and no real signs of wear. High-carbon stainless steel is nice. The Zilla-Tool is rugged, with just the right amount of heft to not be a nuisance. It’s got a handy built-in clip or a padded nylon case to suit your whim, although I would recommend against the clip option as the pliers stay exposed and could effect a spontaneous neutering if you were really unlucky. The real challenge with many knives is the ease of opening and closing and the lock features, but I was stoked with the lock action of the blade and open/closure. I expected some fumbling, but thankfully it didn’t make me feel like the numbfingered arthritic that’s lost his gloves on a winter ascent of Cho Oyu, trying frantically to attach a slack crampon. The flat and Phillips-heads screwdrivers are nice and well-tucked-away and stable ’til they’re needed. It’s great when you can buy just one multi-tool and Zilla-Tool® Blade: Steel: Closed: Open: Weight: Bit Carrier: Batteries: MSRP:

Length: 3.0” (76mm) 3Cr13, 51-53 HRC Handle length: 6.5” (165mm) Overall length: 9.625” (244mm) 7.4 oz (210 g) ------------------$49.99 US

feel like it can handle any task. The Guppie® has been around a while and won the title “best buy of the year” at the 2007 Blade Show in Georgia -- a big deal in the knife world. I’m an avid climber and somehow I find myself hanging for way too long, shooting pics. The Guppie® clips onto my chalk bag belt or anywhere else with a carabiner attachment. The crescent wrench seemed like a novelty, but it’s pretty solid and can be expanded out to tighten a 3/8-inch bolt, en route, greatly calming jangled nerves about potentially sketchy fixed protection. It cuts like butter through weathered webbing, has a handy little LED light and removable hex head screw driver bits. Climber or not, this little addition to your backcountry kit can literally be your personal version of the cavalry coming to save the day -- and it fits in the palm of your hand. One caution: there is no locking mechanism for the blade, so this warrants extra care in handling. Both the Zilla-Tool and The Guppie come in smaller, more basic versions than tested and CRKT promises a limited lifetime warranty on their products. Products available at www.CRKT.com. The Guppie® Length: 2.0” (51mm) 3Cr13, 51-53 HRC Handle Length: 3.5” (89mm) --------4.1 oz (116 g) 1.2 oz (34 g) Two CR927 3V Lithium $44.99 US


Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Shorts: Still fresh after 15 days.

by J.James Joiner You know how you have that nagging desire to always be prepared for, well, everything? The burning urge to be ready, at a moments notice, to flee the boardroom, dash from the cubicle, charge forth and leave the urban landscape behind, immersing yourself in a truly epic-battlefor-survival-type adventure? Well, when the time comes -- and believe you me, it will -- for the fit to hit the so-called shan, you’re going to look down at those pasty white legs and realize, “Dang, I’m glad I bought those shorts.” Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Shorts [moun-

tainkhakis.com] are made from space-age materials (nylon), are ready to deflect the sun (UV50+) at levels so intense that a brush with solar flares elicits scoffs and are treated with a magic-like anti-stain and moisture wicking spritzer (Scotchguard). Mountain Khaki’s Granite Creek shorts are, essentially, a Humvee for your lower half. Or at least the upper half of it. I’ve been wearing my fashionable earth-toned pair for going on fifteen days straight – no chaser – and where normal fabrics (move over cotton) would reek of sweat and other distasteful soilings, these puppies are still fresh and crisp as day one. The Mountain Khakis website describes the Granite Creek shorts as being ready for “the river, on the peak or at the coffee shop,” but I daresay they’re selling themselves short. I’ve personally slathered mine with trout slime at the stream, scaled high… er… sand dunes and certainly spilled more than my share of grande lattes on them without a wrinkle or smudge. It seems you would need something along the lines of an oil pie fight in the baking hot desert sun to truly make any sort of impression. Summing it up, whether you’re the urban desk jockey with a penchant for adventure wear or the real deal, sleep under your horse, home on the range free-climbing type, you’ve found your match in these digs. If anything shows signs of wear and tear after a spell, well, chances are it’ll be you. www.mountainkhakis.com

Libation

Claypool Cellars 2008 Purple Pachyderm Pinot Noir by J. James Joiner So what the hell do you say when a bass virtuoso-slash-bona-fide-rock-star like Les Claypool decides to launch his own wine brand? The natural tendency of a wine elitist, the yearning to be upper middle class or better boat shoe and pastel wearer is to scoff, hide that knowing smile behind a cleverly raised cufflink and politely make nice, all the while inwardly filling with a smug disdain. Well, that Polo donning social


climber would, upon first sip of this particular vintage, be forced to choke on those very same 24 karat plated ‘links, as, well, it’s damn good. I have to admit to wanting to like Claypool Vineyards’ 2008 Purple Pachyderm Pinot Noir. An unabashed fan of much of his musical endeavors, I didn’t want to see this venture into winemaking as some vanity project, some funky labels thrown on the first 750 ml. of fermented grape juice to come down the pike. Luckily, it isn’t. I’ll spare you the background of the brand, at least until the full feature in our second issue, but you should do yourselves a favor and spare your tired taste buds the mundacity (yep, just made up a word there. You get it.) of just any ol’ wine, even any ol’ rock star’s wine, and go for the Purple Pachyderm. It’s just as fun to drink as it is to say. And even more fun to say after a few bottles. Upon pouring, the ‘derm sits in the glass like so much resilient purpley red pond water… In contrast, it tastes more like a bubbling sun dappled brook who’s surface was just delicately slashed by the first cast of the day. The flavor is round and full, with a meaty, smoky bite at the finish and heavy, almost barbecue like smell hanging over the top of the glass. After a few sips, you realize, like any great fisherman, that it doesn’t matter if you catch anything – it’s more about the experience of just being there. There’s a definite ripe fruity twang, but, as the label wisely notes, distinctly not too jammy. This is one of

those rare wines that transcends environments – tasting as good from a camper’s boxy tin cup as delicate clad in shapely crystal wine goblets. With the flavor straddling bold and delicate, Claypool et al have hit the nail on the head here, and prove that they’re in this for the long haul, not just to sell a few bottles in the back of Rolling Stone. Between the funky vibe and silky flavor, the ‘08 Purple Pachyderm is nothing less than a thinking man’s call to action. We drank the bottle on a warm spring evening, and soon found ourselves warmly laughing, embraced in what can best be called a nostalgia for whatever was to come. Doesn’t make sense? Pour a glass, it will. Ebullient, mildly psychedelic and certainly inspirational, this is a vintage to drink prior to and during creative or meditational pursuits of all kinds, or perhaps whilst engaged in the Festivus Feats of Strength. www.claypoolcellars.com

2007 Markham Merlot by J. James Joiner This is one of those wines that has stuck with

us over time. We first found the 2007 Markham Merlot when living in Northern California, and loved the rich, opulent taste coupled with modest $16 price point. Then we moved back east, and have only been able to find it in a couple of specialty wine shops, and at a much-inflated price of $25 - $30. It’s not that that it isn’t worth it – we think it is, and buy it somewhat frequently – but seeing the price disparity throwing a couple middlemen into the mix creates is a bit distressing when shelling out the paper. The wine itself is a deep purplish/blood red color, not too thick or thin, and its velvety smoothness is apparent upon being poured into a glass. The flavor bites quickly, striking mid-tongue with acidic clarity, then smoothes itself out and rolls around the rest of the mouth, fruity and tasting of berries, with a smoky, hearty aftertaste that leaves you primed for another sip. After a moment or two of breathing, the smell coming from the glass is reminiscent of old leather and berries on a warm, dewy morning following a crisp and clear night. Almost nostalgic, it brings you a warm and comfortable glow. For those of you on the west coast, this is a steal that should be enjoyed as often as you like. Markham’s easy drinking Merlot is a good allaround wine, complex when you want it to be and a simple sipper when you don’t. For those who live a bit farther away, the price may prohibit regular imbibing but it is absolutely a treat worth the payout when the mood strikes.


Tales of Volcanic Seductions: A Love Story

words and photos by Bennett Barthelemy

Peaks in the Tatoosh Range at the southern edge of Rainier NP, Washington.


Dirtbag-nomad sums it up fairly well. Time in a city is rough. Paying rent had become anathema. I am a recent transplant to Portland and the Ring of Fire. Four years ago, I achieved enough escape velocity to finally say goodbye to nearly a decade in the foggy and rainy depths of Humboldt County, finding a place I knew I could dry out — the high desert of Flagstaff. But one cannot escape his fate for long. It appears I am destined to live with black mold and the skies permanently rimmed with cumulonimbus. In January, I found myself quickly becoming anchored back in the Northwest, having followed a wonderful woman out of the desert. Just as quickly, I found myself wondering what the hell I was doing back in the ubiquitous rain. I still had work as a backpacking guide in the Grand Canyon, I reasoned if I could survive the city and paying rent I could get my fix of sun by commuting to Arizona. Before meeting Maureen, I was getting the sense that three years and several thousand miles of guiding in desert wilderness had romanced the desert rat right out of me. But was that hardy rat ready to be replaced by the wily red fox of the Pacific Northwest? Don’t get me wrong, there is an appeal to getting lost in desert landscapes for sure, especially when feeling anchored to Portland where it is not uncommon to go only four

days without rain in five long months. Instead of robbing a drugstore for relief, I would wax longingly about the sun-burnt sandstones streaked with desert varnish, claustrophobic labyrinthine slot canyons rising dizzyingly as monsoons deliver wind and a precious few drops of rain to fragrant juniper, blackbrush and prairie sage…. When the day came to escape the rain and head to the Grand Canyon again, I was psyched. The guiding went as smoothly as I could have hoped. Tanned and tired, I napped the first two hours flying from Phoenix until the clouds finally broke. It was a bittersweet departure from Arizona as it would likely be my last trip on the heavily pitched and dusty trails of the Grand Canyon, but luckily I had narrowly escaped a late spring storm promising frigid temps that brought late season snow above and rain-slicked trails below. With an 80-pound pack, I take 80-degree heat over desert storms to guide in any day. Now, just a few blue miles away from me, outside the pressurized cabin, the sky had opened wide and there was Mt. Hood. Its summit was parallel to us on our final approach into Portland. Amazingly, the weather had flip-flopped on me. I took it as a sure sign I would soon be on the summit and not drowning a few tantalizingly close miles away under a continual deluge of rain. When I landed in bright sunshine I knew it would be raining again by nightfall, but it no longer mat-

tered, I sensed a switch had been flipped. Somehow life had become much less bleak because nearby I knew peaks pierced through the clouds and into the ethers. Rain here meant moisture is frozen higher up and waiting not far away. As I headed down the concourse I was also returning to the person that shook me free of my dry and dusty desert solitude. It was an unexpected and a curious feeling to be so excited about a return to a place I had been so aggravated by weather-wise. As if lit from the rising sun my path was now becoming clear. This wonderful woman in my life might even begin sharing these peaks and their stories with me, and she was now with me to create and share our own stories together. When I left Flagstaff that morning I was a bit sad, not sure how it felt to load up the snowshoes, crampons, ice axe, shovel, cold weather gear — to finally liberate it from the dusty grasp of my desert storage shed. Half-heartedly, I crammed it all into my backpack. The Mt. Hood fly-by had somehow cured me of my soggy apprehension. Seeing Maureen further reinforced the cure. Moving back north, I realize it’s not the rainwater that runs through my veins and pulls me reluctantly back. I am born of water yes, but not rainwater — it’s the ice and snow so close at hand that helps keep me here. It is also the


richness of a past I have not yet explored having previously strayed far below the Oregon border. These new stories surrounding the volcanoes inspire me, past and present slowly become one and imparting wisdom. Hood is known to the Multnomah as Wy’east, the warrior that was punished for battling childishly against his brother, Pahto, for the favor of the same woman, causing serious carnage. Pahto was turned into Mt. Adams, Wy’east became Hood. Tales of volcanic seductions are everywhere. The ice and snow hide the fires of destruction and creation. On these peaks you sense you are one with this — the avalanches that roar down nearby, the quick whiteouts obscuring your steps, sulpher dioxide steam venting, the lahars ready to break free again in contrast to the collecting of snow to nourish forest and rivers below. The native names and stories for the peaks are way cooler than the common ones we have burdened them with. Mt. Baker is called Kobah in Skagit, meaning “White Sentinel.” Tatoosh means “nourishing breasts” in Yakima. Peter Rainier was the rear admiral of Vancouver but so much cooler is to learn that the Lushootseed called the mountain Tacoma meaning “Mother of Waters”-- and with 26 major glaciers, the most in the lower 48 for any peak, they are right. Murky larger-than-life figures are not so far away. While on Rainier, I connect with natives,

explorers and even my heroes and can follow in their footsteps — their voices still echo there. In 1870, Yakima Indian Sluiskin guided Hazard Stevens and Philemon Van Trump to Paradise Meadows so they could be the first whites to summit Rainier. They survived the night by spending it near steam vents to stay warm. John Muir tagged the lower 48’s fifth-highest peak

Fay Fuller, a nearby school teacher that lost her job over the climb because of her spending a night alone with four men near the summit — it lacked necessary propriety for back in the day. On the Columbia River, staring at Wy’east from Horsethief Butte, I marvel much the same as Lewis and Clark did more than 200 years ago. These histories, these peaks continue to sustain and inspire. In a metaphoric way so does Maureen, the woman that pulled me out of my desert. She too is a volcano, piercing the clouds and bringing the sun on the dreariest of Portland’s days.

for its fifth recorded ascent in 1888 and fueled his desire to get Rainier preserved as a National Park. Back in the day charcoal, or a mixture of Vaseline and flour was used back then to protect from sunburn.

It happens commonly now, my visions of the deserts conjured up by the seemingly endless rains that are just as quickly eclipsed. Desert dreams evaporate with quickened heartbeats as Cascade strato-volcanoes slip the nearly perpetual wreath of rain clouds. Close is the satisfying crunch of ice axe and crampons into sticky 40-degree snow and ice. I am always ready for the promised kiss of wind over exposed skin and ridgelines, the breathless push at altitude to a summit — to finish the stitch of 20,000 footfalls connecting emerald forests, turquoise tarns and ancient glaciers — to tie their stories together while finding the way to that elusive hypoxic highpoint. The wily fox easily wins out against the old desert rat.

First female ascent on Rainier? Twenty-year-old

photo this page: Mt. Hood reflected in an icy Mirror Lake, Oregon


Hypoxic highpoints Words are moves to be puzzled out in sequence, a birthing of connective tissue fleshing out what is destined to remain a ghost, an ephemeral being—a passageway to explore a seemingly unscaleable citadel of stone, ice and snow. These pointless moves, these hollow prayers written invisibly on this crumbling canvas, what do they mean? Who will read this secret language, who wants a glimpse into the heart of a tortured soul?

I summon my muse and ask again for her blessing. She is the enchantress of lithic desire, of wild exposure, of alpine fantasies. She commands my body and soul; I offer it again without reservation. My muse, the most fickle of improbable lovers. All my desire, sacrifice, and offerings, guarantee nothing but the exquisite pain of possibility… I embrace her. She is my affliction, my cancer, my inescapable stigmata.

In my heart I know the sequence exists, it is possible, it can be teased out of ethers, I am strong enough…

The backs of my hands and fingers read like the route descriptions of the latest climb. Across a bruised sky of calloused skin are ever-changing constellations of minor wounds, kisses from uncompromising stone and cold sacrificed cells.

My body is a musical flailing of fingers and synapses in unlikely flow. But can these transient words be placed together long enough to find a golden harmony from the perfect chords? Can I create the perfect hymn and shape the perfect key to turn an unpickable lock?

I can see again the sharp-edged dihedral leaving the talus field on my first knuckle. The fist crack through the roof at mid height is still visible, tattooed in scabs across my weathered skin just below the crest of the second knuckle.

The col leading to the summit ridge, the bundle of balled veins above the over-worked calf muscle. Twenty years of devotion to her. How many pounds of flesh have been extracted from my strayed pugilists hands and my soon-to-be arthritic fingers? Does it matter? Not when I can feel most alive, wrapped in the arms of my inescapable disease. To feel the coolness of the biting alpine breath on exposed skin. To feel content as the winds gently give way to the warming glow of a coming sunrise. Paint the jagged ridges golden, warm my tired blood. The shared rising and falling from peaks, that perfect embrace. The outcome unfixed, the joy of the unknown, the beauty of the possibly impossible, the beauty of failure and of success, both signaling the promise of a welcome return… - Bennett Barthelemy


Shape up!

Strengthening your core, the center of power, is key to performance by Cynthia Joiner

Core strength is the key to injury prevention, excelling in your sport or activity of choice and overall functional mobility. The muscles of the abdomen, back, pelvis and hips form your core. Strengthening these muscles will improve your balance and keep your trunk stable and aligned while your limbs are active. Our core comes into play in everything we do -- standing, sitting, bending over, walking and more. The torso is the body’s center of power, so the stronger you are in that area, the easier your sport, activity and life will be. If the core muscles are weak, your body doesn’t work as effectively or efficiently

and other muscles have to pick up the slack. When this happens, our body has a tendency to get out of alignment which causes nagging aches and pains and even injury. To prevent all this, it is important to perform core strengthening exercises. A few of the more popular core exercises are: The Plank: Start by lying face down on the ground. Place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest. Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes and forearms. Be sure your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders and your body forms a straight line from head to foot. Be sure to maintain a flat back -- your butt should not sag towards the ground or stick up in the air. Now squeeze your abs and glutes (butt muscles) as hard as you can and hold for at least 30 seconds, while maintaining proper form. Side Planks: Lie on side on mat. Place forearm on the mat under shoulder perpendicular to body, and place other hand on your hip. Place upper leg directly on top of lower leg and straighten knees and hips. Lift hips and knees so you form a straight line. Now squeeze your abs and glutes as hard as you can and hold for at least 30 seconds, while maintaining proper form. Repeat on other side. If this is too hard, you can keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle so you only lift your hips. Alternating arm and leg raise: Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you (think Superman.) Keeping your abs tight, raise your right arm and left leg simultaneously.

Return to floor and raise your left arm and right leg simultaneously. Continue alternating for a count of 10 each. As you become more proficient gradually add more repetitions and speed. There are many different exercises, as well as many variations of the ones listed above, that work the core. Any exercise that requires balance will bring the core muscles into play. That is why the stability ball and BOSU ball are so popular. It doesn’t matter which ones you do as long as you incorporate some core work into your routine. Remember to always use proper form, as improper form will diminish the effectiveness of the exercises and may cause injury. Cynthia Joiner is a personal trainer and avid cyclist. Shape up! will appear in each issue, focussing on ways to help increase fitness. For more information go to www.CindyJoiner.net

Coming Next Issue: Les Claypool talks wine, music and fly fishing. More gear reviews than you can shake a stick at. An interview with split cane bamboo rodmaking legend Marc Aroner. More wine, more photos, some music, and enough adventures to make Robert Lewis Stevenson grin in his grave.


Libation

“It’s demystifying the idea of a winery, once you can understand what a winery is and what a food processing plant is. Like a tomato sauce factory, a winery is an agricultural station. These Zen and the art of wine-making grapes come in, they’re processed, put into barrels Coturri’s gift is shepherding wines and eventually into bottles,” from grape to great he says. “The magic is always in the words and photos by J. James Joiner vineyard. It’s how the grapes are grown, and that’s where we The first thing that struck me when I arrived at spend our time and our energy Coturri Winery in Glenn Ellen, California, was – getting our grapes to a place how -- for a vineyard known for such big and where they don’t have to do anybold wines -- how small, homey and humble it thing to them. That’s really the felt. Everything is done on-site and by hand, key to it, is leaving it alone.” from labeling to bottling, packing and shipping. Coturri eschews the winemaker There are no computers or space-age pieces moniker. of gleaming metal technology humming in the “It’s ironic because now in Calibackground. Coturri Winery is a sharp contrast fornia there are all these young to the many over-industrialized destination winwinemakers going through the eries that dot the Northern California byways. classes, and they’re technocrats. Tony Coturri is, in the vernacular of the young They have to do something or and hip, a G. they don’t feel as though they’re When it comes to making wine, and doing it in a making “wine.” natural and sustainable way, there are few who, despite their marketing claims of bio dynamI don’t consider myself a ics, organics and lack of sulfites, his equal. The winemaker, I’m more of secret to this, he says, is to let nature truly take a custodian.” its course.

Zen and the art of wine-making Coturri’s gift is shepherding wines from grape to great words and photos by J. James Joiner The first thing that struck me when I arrived at Coturri Winery in Glenn Ellen, California, was how -- for a vineyard known for such big and bold wines -- how small, homey and humble it felt. Everything is done on-site and by hand,

Fill Filling each bottle is done by hand directly from the barrel.


He ads that the French don’t have a word for “winemaker,” instead using the term grape grower. “You don’t physically make wine. You do things, you bring the grapes in, you de-stem them, you crush them, you push the caps down,

Pushing the cork.

you put them into barrels, and that’s it. The grapes ferment in a timely manner, the acid and the sugars balance, and you oversee it.” Coturri joked that, as a lifelong lover of cars and motorcycles, he would tell those he met at swap meets and shows that he was the custodian at a winery. “Everyone would nod their heads and laugh.

That’s what all motorheads are, they work on machinery, you know? And it’s really what I am, a custodian. We don’t change anything. It comes to us a certain way, I didn’t do anything to make it happen that way and that’s actually the hardest thing to accept -- is that you can allow things to just be.” www.CoturriWinery.com

Old vine Zinfandel, as far as the eye can see.


Parting Shot

Our fly fishing columnist gets in a few misty morning casts before the crowds arrive at the Swift River’s Y Pool in Belchertown, MA. J. James Joiner photo


www.thehighlyacclaimed.com


The Highly Acclaimed magazine